Howard Mooney - Glad Tidings of the Kingdom of God

We were telling you yesterday about some seminary students that came to our meetings and got saved. One day, we were talking to one of them about his education, and he felt it was equipping him so much better to face the ministry than what we were equipped, so I asked him, "Just what are you learning at the seminary that is equipping you so much better for your future in the ministry?" He replied, "Our studies are classified under three headings, Homogenetics, Heterogenetics and Apologetics.” I said, "All right, we will begin with the apologetics. What does it mean?" He said that, "It is a defense of the Bible. We go back into ancient history and other manuscripts and find evidence that defends the Bible." I said, "We don't need apologetics in our ministry because we have a Bible which defends itself. We don't have to go back and dig up evidence to defend the Bible." There has never been a time when the Bible has come under more criticism than it is today, and never has there been a day when the Bible has been more triumphant than it is today, because there has been no day when more of its truth is being fulfilled than it is today. We don't have to make any apology for the Scriptures.

I had the privilege of spending a little time in Greece four years ago, and at the time I was there, I had a number of visits with our elder brother, Anton Koutsorelis. He has a degree in English and a degree in Greek and I asked him from time to time, "How does this word read in Greek; or, how does this verse read in Greek, or what meaning do you get out of this verse?" One day I asked him, "Anton, do you feel it is a real advantage to know the original Greek when it comes to understanding the Bible?" and his answer was, "Not one bit." He said, and - I want you to get this, and this is especially for you young people in the midst of us because I know you are often faced with criticism against the Bible, "You have every accuracy in your Authorized Version that we have in the original Greek; every accuracy. There might be some words in the original Greek which would give a little deeper insight into the meaning, but it would not change the meaning, but as far as accuracy is concerned, you have every accuracy in your KJ [King James] Authorized Version that you have in the original Greek."

I just made up my mind that I am going to tell my brethren wherever I go and especially our younger brethren, because the Bible everywhere is being discredited and criticized from every angle. You have every accuracy in this book that was in the heart of God. To begin with, it needs no other interpretation or explanation than the help of the Holy Spirit, but that is not the only reason I believe the Bible and am so satisfied with this way of Salvation I rejoice in. The reason I believe the Bible is, because it works. We accept the Bible; we don't try to explain it away. We accept it just as it fell from the lips of those men of old. We accept it just as it fell from the lips of Jesus. We accept it, we believe it, and we walk in the light of it and are enjoying the greatest miracle as a result of it. We enjoy the peace of God that is found in no other place and have a fellowship that is found no place else. We believe the Bible because it proves itself to be true; we don't have to make any apologies for the Bible. The Bible proves itself and every year is proving itself to be more valid than it ever was before. More Scripture is being fulfilled tonight than it ever was before, but there is nothing that should strengthen your faith in God and the Bible more, than to read the promises that were given way back in the Old Testament, and then turn to the New Testament and find them fulfilled to the very letter, and then nineteen hundred years later to find it fulfilled to the very letter in your own life and fellowship today. That is why we say to you again tonight, "Do you realize how fortunate you are?" Blessed are your eyes that see what you are actually seeing, and do you realize how fortunate you are that [you are] in this fellowship that means more than life itself to you. You have the embodiment and fulfillment of everything that was in the heart of God and promised from the very beginning, before the world began.

"The law and the prophets were until John; since that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." The Kingdom was preached and all these wonderful things took place before their eyes - here was the fulfillment of everything God had promised from the beginning of time. No wonder the people pressed into it. Why should they sit back in the types and shadows when they had the fulfillment of it? This is one of the glad tidings of the Kingdom, because in the Kingdom of God we have a fulfillment of everything that was in the mind of God for His people from the beginning of time.

Luke 17:20-21, "And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the Kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, 'The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, 'Lo, here' or 'Lo, there,' for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.'" The prophets of that day; the religious leaders were deceiving the people into believing that when Jesus came into the world to establish a Kingdom, it would be a physical Kingdom with His headquarters and throne in Jerusalem, and a Kingdom like it was in the days of David where the Jews would be the triumphant nation again. Their teachers had sold them on that idea. The first great disappointment Jesus brought to the Jews (and He disappointed them so many times because what He brought was altogether different from what their false prophets had talked about) - one of the first disappointments that was brought to the Jews was that when He was born into the world, it says, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins." That was a disappointment; they didn't want to be saved from their sins; they were enjoying their sins. They wanted a Messiah that would save them from the Roman army and set up a throne in Jerusalem and make them a triumphant nation like in the days of David. The ministry of Jesus had covered quite a period of time, and nothing like that was happening, so they demanded of Him when the Kingdom of God should appear, and He told them, "The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation....for the Kingdom of God is within you." This is the good news; this is the glad tidings. That is the real essence of glad tidings - right where you need it the most. If Jesus had come and set up His throne in Jerusalem, it would not have done you or me one bit of good; if He had remained in Bethlehem, it would not have done you or me one bit of good, but the glad tidings of the Gospel; the good news is that Jesus came to set up His throne right in your heart. It is not Christ in Jerusalem your hope of glory, it is Christ in you, the hope of glory, right down in that heart of yours which the Bible tells us is desperately wicked and who can know it? If you cannot understand your heart, how can you know it and how can you know to do anything about it?

I will tell you some verses I would like you to mark in your Bible. Matthew 15:18-20, in these verses, Jesus said that every tendency that would make for sin is bound up in the human heart and that takes in your heart and mine. No one is an exception to that. These tendencies Jesus mentioned there that would lead to sin, temptation, and destruction are bound up in every heart and the reason why the Lord said, "Now you give Me your heart, My son," is because He knows that only His presence in your heart can help you to subdue those tendencies that can take you out to a Christless eternity.

My companion and I were having dinner one evening with an official of the State Penitentiary in the state of Idaho, and this official was explaining to us some of the things about prison routine and their parole system. He told us something that evening that was a shock to me. He spoke of the number of men that were in there for murder and he said they were all exceptionally good men. He said, "We have had gangsters and outlaws that have been convicted for murder but they were always sent to the maximum security prison, but the men here in our prison for murder, everyone of them were exceptionally good men; good citizens; good husbands, good fathers to their children; of high repute in the community," and this is the way he explained it. "In an unguarded moment, in a moment of weakness or in a fit of anger or jealousy, they lost control of the situation." That is the way he put it in his words. When they lost control of the situation that is when the murder took place and those men were languishing behind bars. It happened because they had tendencies in their hearts which they could not control at the time of crises.

I would like to tell you on the authority of Jesus that you have tendencies bound up in your heart which could take you to a Christless eternity. You could make headlines; you may not end up committing murder but you could hang your head in shame for the rest of your days just because you have tendencies in your heart which you cannot control under all conditions. Maybe when everything is going good you can, but maybe in an unguarded moment or a fit of rage or jealousy, you can find yourself losing control of the situation with something happening. It may not put you into prison but may cause you to hang your head in shame for the rest of your days and may cause you to go out into the blackness and darkness forever, when your days on earth are over, and that is why the Lord says, "Son, give Me your heart." That is why the Lord is anxious to reach right down there in that heart of yours and set up His throne. That is where He wants to reign, right there in that heart of yours that is deceitful and desperately wicked and that you cannot do anything about yourself. The Lord with a full understanding of the situation says, "You let Me set up My throne in your heart." It is Christ in you, the hope of glory. That will give you hope for today and for the countless ages of eternity.

Jesus spoke of four things that His inward work was like when He comes and sets up His throne in your heart. Like a seed in the soil. He is speaking about things on the inside giving you new life. Like the leaven in the meal producing the loaf; like the oil in the lamp giving forth light; like the wine in the bottle producing a vessel. Most of those are simple enough if you just accept the word of Jesus; they require no explanation, but I would like to talk to you about the wine in the bottle.

Many of the bottles even today in those parts of the world are made from the skins of animals. They prefer the goatskin, it seems to be the right size; a lamb is too small and an ox too large to be efficient. They take that skin from a newly-killed animal and they fill it with unfermented grape juice and sew it in tight. When the wine begins to ferment and the gasses begin to form it balloons out into a big oblong form and they let it harden that way. They pour the wine out and they have a vessel formed. A useful vessel is formed through no outward influence or pressure but because a miracle of God worked on the inside. When they want to make it more durable they hang it in the smoke that would put a metallic finish which makes it almost indestructible. That helps me to understand what the writer of Psalm 119 meant when he said, "I am become like a bottle in the smoke." Subjected to the heat and the smoke; not a pleasant experience but he knows this is going to be good in the long run and make for a real durable service when he got out of this experience. The thought is this, it was the wine or grape juice working inside the vessel which ballooned it out into this shape and formed the vessel of usefulness. It was not because of any outward pressure, but because of what was working on the inside. It is like the seed in the soil producing new life, and it is like the leaven in the meal producing a loaf, and it is like oil in a lamp making light possible, and like the wine in the bottle. These are just little pictures of what takes place in the positive sense when Christ comes in and sets up His throne in your heart. If in a Meeting He says to you, "Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and sup with him, and he with Me." If you ever hear that voice and if you ever feel the knock of the nail-pierced hands at your hearts door, we would encourage you to let Him come in and let Him set up His throne in your heart and protect you from the tendencies in your heart that would take you out to a Christ-less eternity. Let Him establish that positive work in your heart so that your life can abound in fruitfulness and all good blessings.

Just one more I would mention in Luke 1:33 when the messenger was giving to Mary a wonderful foretaste of what this king would be like; this King Jesus. "And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end." That is another message of glad tidings. You would recognize that without me even telling you about it, a Kingdom like we were hearing about this morning that will never end and will lead on beyond the power of the grave into the other side of eternity. We sometimes tell people that we have a universal fellowship. We often tell people it is something worth talking about. Because of the Spirit He has given to us, we can go to any part of the world and have perfect fellowship with our brethren there, but we also like to tell people that it is an eternal fellowship because of the Spirit God has given us and because of His reign in our lives and what He has brought about, we can sit down and have fellowship with the people we read about there as well as the people you know in this present day and age.

Jesus also gave us a glimpse into eternity and He said the day is coming when you will have fellowship in that great day on the other side. He said, "... and they shall come from the east and from the west and from the north and from the south, and shall sit down in the Kingdom of God." That is on the other side. Abraham represented one generation, Isaac represented another generation, and Jacob another generation. All the succeeding prophets stretched out over a period of hundreds of years representing different ages of the world's history, but in each case they knew what it was to have God's Spirit with them, and they were brought into the same fellowship and enjoyment of the same things. Now Jesus said that when they gather together in the great gathering on the other side, there will be Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets from your generation, from the north, south, east, and west coming together, and you will sit down in perfect fellowship together there. That will be a Convention that will never end. There is only one thing that I do not enjoy about Conventions like this one, and that is we sit down and we have four days of Heavenly fellowship and our souls are satiated and our hearts are knit together and then the Convention ends and you say goodbye. Sometimes you know you are saying goodbye forever and oftentimes I've seen the teardrops fall with the parting taking place, but oh can you visualize (this is one of the glad tidings and the good news) the great Convention on the other side with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets and the Lord's people coming together like you have all been together here, from the north, south, east, and west. You will find yourself sitting at the feast of the Lord; a Convention that will never end, and you will continue to enjoy all of this wonderful fellowship throughout the countless ages of eternity. There will be no more goodbyes, aches and pains, distresses, battles, and coldness; no more of the things you have faced in the world, just like one endless Convention reaching into the countless ages of eternity. If you are part of this Kingdom and the King is reigning in your heart, this is something that won't end at the grave and you will go on to enjoy all of it in fullest measure through the countless ages of eternity.

When the Angel told the shepherds about this, he said, "This is good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." This is for all people, and this means no matter who you are or what you are or what your background might be or what your status is in the world tonight, that doesn't make one bit of difference, for it is for all people. It is within your reach and if you hear or feel tonight the knock of His nail-pierced hands at your hearts door, then you let Him in to set up His throne in your heart and then every one of these glad tidings of the Kingdom that we have talked about tonight will become your own personal experience. It is something too great to miss and I hope that no one here will want to miss it. Now we shall sing hymn 222, "Jesus my Saviour King," and I hope this will be the language of every heart here and I hope no one will miss it.